Trainees testify in Lackland court-martial
Sgt.'s case in hands of jury
The fate of a third Lackland Air Force Base military training instructor accused of inappropriate relations with a trainee was put in the hands of a jury Wednesday.
Technical Sgt. Christopher Smith is charged with developing a personal and intimate relationship with trainees, making a sexual advance toward a trainee, and obstruction of justice.
Wednesday’s testimony was emotional and, at times, conflicting.
In tears for much of her testimony, one former trainee of Smith’s told the court he once told her she “looked sexy while marching” and gave her a sweatshirt of his that he sprayed with his cologne.
The case centers around a Saturday morning in late April 2011 when Smith allegedly picked up that same trainee and one other in his personal vehicle, telling them to duck down as they drove off base. The prosecution says Smith drove them to a house off base where they met up with a second instructor and alcohol was offered.
At the house, Smith and one trainee allegedly went into a bedroom where she says Smith asked her to sit on the bed, then touched her leg and kissed her neck. But she refused his advance, saying she was uncomfortable and the two then went back downstairs to watch TV.
When questioned by the defense, the same witness admitted that she "thought it was cool" to hang out with Smith and was not forced to.
"Trainees and trainers cannot have any sort of personal relationship, whether that be a sexual relationship or friendship or texting or emailing," Staff Judge Advocate Col. Polly Kenny said.
Meanwhile, the other trainee allegedly taken to that home told the court she felt "backed into a corner" and was "forced to testify" because this was part of the larger sex scandal at Lackland.
Smith is one of 15 Lackland instructors accused in that scandal. Two have already been convicted and sentenced.
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